Article and graphic by Yasmine Sarraf
Santa Rosa High School’s varsity girls soccer team battled against the Montgomery Vikings on the chilly Thursday night of February 3. Ultimately, Montgomery won 2-0, but it was not without a tough fight from the formidable Panthers.
With only three games left in her final season, center back and senior Madilyn Walker said that it is “so bittersweet.” She explained, “I am so excited to see where everyone ends up next year, but I also know that the season eventually will come to an end.”
According to Walker, the team’s record is not good this season. “Thursday’s game was not our first loss,” she said.
Montgomery had two shots on goal early on in the first half of the match, both of which SRHS goalkeeper and senior, Sami Smelser, stopped. While Montgomery controlled the ball for the majority of the time, SRHS kept the match scoreless until around the middle of the first half. The ball was booted from midfield to a player right of the penalty area, who crossed the ball to another Montgomery player to score the goal.
Within a few minutes, Montgomery had the ball in the back of the net a second time, but the sideline referee declared the player offside, so the goal was not counted. The offside call was met with boos from Montgomery spectators.
Montgomery maintained control of the ball for the rest of the first half, creating several opportunities to add another point to the board, but Smelser and the rest of the SRHS defense blocked their shots. SRHS had a couple of opportunities to score as well, but their attacks were stopped by Montgomery.
SRHS came into the second half with energy and both teams possessed the ball, but Montgomery kept it on SRHS’s half of the field for much of the time.
Before the middle of the second half, Smelser was kicked after a Montgomery player ran at her in an attempt to get the ball. Fortunately, she rose to her feet and went on to make remarkable stops.
Within the last fifteen minutes of the match, Smelser made several sliding stops one-on-one against Montgomery players. There were stops from defensive players as well, and the SRHS offense created several opportunities that almost resulted in goals.
When there were only three minutes left of the game, Montgomery scored their second goal against SRHS. Although the Panthers lost that night, they played well and it was great to watch. Next year, grab a blanket and go support the SRHS soccer teams!